"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Fomo. I've dealt a looot with this fear-of-missing-out thing. The fear of missing out on conversations, texts, hangouts, styles, boys, friends, FOOD, memories...you name it. I constantly jumped from conversation to conversation, trying to find a place to fit in. I constantly thought and wondered that maybe if I added some old skool shoes or trendy clothes to my outfit, maybe wore make-up, maybe acted more mature and held-together and more lady-like, maybe liked a certain guy or made him like me, maybe watched all the things everyone likes, participate in all the trends sweeping through school, or danced like that guy from school, or joined in those juicy conversations...maybe people would admire me. Maybe they'd remember that I exist. Maybe people would come swarming around me, seeking my company. Maybe I could be a part of the popular crowd where people always wanted to be around me. Maybe I could feel like I finally belonged and fit in...
Am I missing out? I mean, YOLO! But...if I only get to live once, how can I make the most of it? How can I best help others seek the kingdom of God and show them the love, the peace, the JOY that I've experienced? Can I do that if I'm constantly trying to keep up with the world and all its latest trends, or will that just crowd out my love for Jesus? Can I do both? Can I love both the things of the world and Jesus? Can I be popular and love Jesus? Can I actually belong? Do I belong? Will I ever belong?
As I pondered these things late a few nights ago, I knew I couldn't give in to the tug of this world.
And yes, trying to keep up with this world would crowd out my love for Jesus. No, I can't love both the world and Jesus, so no, I can't belong here on earth, either. John 2:15-16 says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life -is not from the Father but is from the world."
Yipes. So...if I love the world, God's love is not in me? Woahhh- I definitely am at fault there and need to work on that! 2 Timothy 2:15 also says, "But avoid irreverent [disrespectful] babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness," so I shouldn't join into all that gossip and discouraging talk I sometimes find myself in. Matthew 12:30 says that "whoever is not with me [Jesus] is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." Jesus also says that He is not of this world, but of GOD. And if He is not of this world, then the world is not with Him. So...I can't follow the world or I'll be against Him? Hmmm...so why am I in this world at all? Well...I guess God has a good plan for me and He's going to use me to help impact others. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,'" declares the LORD, "'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" In the same way, He has an AMAZING PLAN for YOU on this earth! Like Paul says in Philippians 1:23-24, "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." He wanted to be with Jesus, but Paul knew that he was needed on earth to carry out God's plan for him and to share the gospel.
And yes, while I could be popular and still love Jesus, it'd definitely be harder, with the pressure of all those people watching my every move and response! And do I belong? Not to this world - but I do belong to Jesus! Philippians 3:20 says that "Our citizenship is in Heaven." Our identity is also in Jesus! My identity does not lie in my clothes. Not in my style. Not in my appearance, my ethnicity, my "dance moves." No, it lies only in what GOD says about me! He says that I do belong with Him, that I AM loved, that I am wanted, predestined (woww!), a child of GOD, that I am beautiful, that I am HIS!! And if the Creator of the UNIVERSE says that about ME - little, crazy me - why should I need the attention of other people? Why do I need their approval?
And another thing - if I'm all caught up in trying to fit in, to be "cool," to not miss out on things my friends are doing - how many opportunities to pray and talk with people who need Jesus desperately am I missing? How many opportunities am I letting go because it wasn't "cool" in the world's eyes? How many people did not get a chance to hear the gospel because I was busy gossiping or something with the "in crowd"?
Do I really want that?
So...maybe I'm not part of the popular crowd. Maybe my style is dull and everyone thinks I'm still 12 or 13 years old. Maybe no one comes over to say hello. Maybe no one really notices me. Maybe I'm not cool in the world's eyes. Maybe I'm weird and crazy and never know what to say until ten minutes after I needed to say it. Maybe I don't know as much as other people. Maybe I don't have insta or snapchat or social media and don't act like everyone else.
But you know what, I'm not gonna let that bother me. I'm not going to worry about that stuff because I know that this world is only temporary. I need to set - and keep - my priorities straight. And when there's pressure to fit in, I'm going to remember that I'm not supposed to belong in this world. I'm going to remember where my identity lies. And I won't be alone! The Holy Spirit will be with me 24/7 and I am forever grateful for that! He will get me through! <3
And with my extra time, I'm not going to go find new trends to follow - nah. I'm going to ask the Holy Spirit to show me OPPORTUNITIES to PRAY and SHARE and LOVE. Because I know that I do belong with Him, and I want to help others feel accepted.
What do you want to do with your life?
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."